Bristol academics claim Branson's prize
The solution, published online by The Journal of Unlikely Science, is remarkably simple, requiring no technological wizardry or financial investment. It is quite simply, stop breathing; or at least breathe less.
The authors of the study say those who exercise a lot could be doing no end of damage to the Earth's atmosphere by breathing too much. "All that time that the super-fitties among us spend exercising, they're guzzling extra oxygen and belching out tonnes of CO2."
Undertaking strenuous exercise causes an individual's metabolic rate to increase by at least 50%, leading to increased amounts of carbon dioxide produced in the body and expelled during breathing. At a rough estimate, the average person exercising at the recommended level of thirty minutes five times a week could be adding as much as 1.3kg of extra carbon dioxide to the atmosphere each year. Multiplied across a global population of 6.5 billion, this equates to a lung-busting 14 million tonnes.
Research has failed to show any clear cut difference between the metabolic rates of the "super-fit" and less active members of the population when resting. Therefore, claim the authors, contrary to earlier studies that hold the obese accountable for global warming, those who eat more and exercise less are actually doing the world a favour.
Although, said lead researcher, Dr. Mark Steer, "The amount of carbon dioxide saved by remaining sedentary is nothing compared to what you would save by running somewhere instead of driving there."
But according to the study, we can all make a difference just by breathing less. "If we merely cut out one breath in three, we could decrease the amount of CO2 entering the atmosphere each year by a staggering 0.63 gigatonnes. That's the same effect as saving 5 million acres of land (an area the size of Wales) from deforestation."
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Image caption: Doctors Impey and Steer prepare for their big climate win.
Please quote Null Hypothesis, The Journal of Unlikely Science, in any articles.
Scientists at the University of Bristol have cracked climate change. Less than a month into Richard Branson's five-year competition, academics will take their winning idea to Virgin Earth and walk away with a cool $25 million.
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